Hiking in the Mammoth Lakes area during the spring offers spectacular scenery and mild temperatures. Each week a new lake thaws and the snow melts on one of our many trails.
Highway 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite National Park generally opens in May for Memorial Day Weekend. The valley is the most beautiful at this time, because the waterfalls are full, flowers are blooming, and the mountains are still covered in snow
In the summer there is no better way to really experience Mammoth Lakes natural beauty than at an eye-level hiking pace. You may find yourself adjusting your tempo to that of the trail. Stop a moment to watch a cunning little lizard cool itself with millimeter-high push-ups.
Notice the hawks swooping, the grouse scuttling, the way the aroma of sage is released when you lightly brush against it.
John Muir and Ansel Adams wilderness areas – lush alpine meadows and crystal-clear high-country lakes – are an easy day hike. Discover the natural beauty of this area on one of our popular Day Hikes.
Hiking around Mammoth Lakes in the fall is an experience not to be missed. This beautiful, though uncrowded, season brings crisp mountain mornings, warm days and the opportunity to experience the colors that comprise the palette of autumn. Aspen, willow and cottonwood trees light up the slopes during this very special time of year.
The back country is beautiful, but also primitive, and you’ll be on your own. Inquire about weather forecasts and trail conditions when planning what equipment and clothing to take. In all seasons, always be prepared for severe weather. Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping.
There may be restrictions to bringing your pet along with you on your trip. Also, many people enjoy animal packing in the back country areas where it is permitted. Proper planning, with special attention to camp location and confining animals in camp, is needed
Help ensure that future generations may also experience a pristine wilderness by using the “Minimum Impact – Leave No Trace” techniques.
For more information on back country backpacking please call the California Welcome Center – Mammoth Lakes at 760-924-5500 or go to their website at www.fs.usda.gov
The Sierra Nevada is bear country!
The use of bear-resistant food canisters is mandatory in most wilderness areas. Find out how to protect your food from bears and what regulations may apply to your visit. Contact the California Welcome Center – Mammoth Lakes for Trail Maps at 760-924-5500.
Your choice of terrain, sensational Sierra scenery and that famous California summer sunshine make an irresistible combination for mountain or road biking. Test your suspension on the Inyo National Forest’s vast network of trails and unpaved roads. There are so many different conditions and views to discover. In fact, you can cross a couple of microclimates.
Road bikers have plenty of asphalt routes to choose from, be it peddling around town, gearing down to puff up Minaret Road to the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and on up to the breathtaking Minaret Vista, or cruise the scenic stretches of U.S. Highway 395.
In summer, Mammoth Mountain’s ski slopes are transformed into a mountain bike paradise. Riders of all abilities and conditioning levels can take advantage of its extensive trail system. More than 80 miles of groomed single-track trail and lift access to the 11,053-foot summit make the mountain very popular.
The California Welcome Center – Mammoth Lakes located at the entrance to town on State Highway 203 offers free mountain biking trail maps and information on route descriptions, trail ethics and precautions.
The Eastern Sierra is home to a wide variety of birds year-round, while many others migrate through. The birds of the Eastern Sierra offer both the casual and the dedicated birdwatcher a large and diverse population. Nearly 300 species of birds have been identified within the area. Some are year-round residents, others migratory visitors. With a pair of binoculars and a bird identification guide, birding in the Eastern Sierra can be rewarding for a few hours or for a lifetime.
The Eastern Sierra offers dramatic beauty and great birding. Mono County is blessed with an abundance of public land, most of which offers excellent birding. The soaring flight of a Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle may even be witnessed. Just to name a few of the Eastern Sierra birds you will see are the Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Hummingbirds, Mountain Bluebird, Western Tanager, American Goldfinch, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, and the ever popular Steller’s Jay. For a list of the Birds in the Eastern Sierra visit the Valentine Reserve website atvesr.ucnrs.org/pages/snarlbirds.html. For up-to-date postings and sightings visit the Eastern Sierra Audubon’s website atww.esaudubon.org/birds
Mono Lake is the crown jewel when it comes to birding. Mono Lake is a salty, alkaline inland sea home to brine shrimp, alkali flies, and the millions of birds that depend on them. One of the best-known birds is the California Gull. Mono Lake is home to the second largest California Gull rookery in North America (Great Salt Lake is the largest). Approximately 50,000 California Gulls arrive in spring and will feed, mate, select a nest site and lay their eggs.
Another great way to see Mammoth Lake’s backcountry is by horseback. Local pack outfitters offer hour-long, half and full-day rides as well as week-long excursions into the Ansel Adams and John Muir wilderness areas. A 2-hour ride, perfect for families, takes you to Heart Lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, passing by a historic gold mine and mining camp. Other favorites include the guided rides along Convict Lake, McGee Canyon, Rock Creek and Red’s Meadow. Relax and enjoy the Sierra scenery while the horses do what they love. For a real old west experience you can be a working cowboy on a horse drive during the spring & fall seasons. No experience necessary – they’ll show you the ropes.
Local Pack Outfits:
Convict Lake Resort
Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit
McGee Pack Station
Red’s Meadow Pack Station
Rock Creek Pack Station
Sierra Meadows Ranch(Horse Boarding only)
Mammoth is known as being one of the most challenging and rewarding fishing destinations in the west. The wonder and beauty of the Eastern Sierra with crystal clear lakes and streams will hold you spell bound.
Fishing can be done in many ways – from shore or a boat, from a dock, in lakes and rivers and streams. There are a variety of fishing techniques, in addition to gear, baits and lures. Mammoth Lakes has Sporting Good Stores and Guides that can help you with your fishing needs. With all the different possibilities, there’s something for everyone. What are you waiting for?
Mono County fishing season starts the last Saturday in April and ends on November 15th of every year, however, the catch and release fisheries of the Upper Owens River above the Benton Bridge to Big Springs, the East Walker River below Bridgeport Reservoir, and Hot Creek, will remain open year round.
Two-day resident/nonresident sport fishing license $22.94
Find out the best time to fish and where the fish are biting with the fishing reports and forecasts for the lakes and streams in the area.
Crowley Lake Fish Camp Report
Troutfitter/Trout Fly Report
Sierra Drifters Reports
Performance Guide Service
Explore stocking schedules on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Website
If you do not know how to fish, you can learn by hiring a guide or taking a class. The Trout Fly and Troutfitter “First-Time Beginner’s Package”.
Fishing is a relaxing sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. You never get too old to fish! And getting kids started young helps them appreciate nature and the ways the environment works. The Department of Fish and Game offers two “Free Fishing” Days each year. There are two Saturdays this event is offered, one in July and one in September. On these designated dates is the only time you can fish without a license. What a great way to give fishing a try.
If you are looking for a place to go fishing Mammoth Lakes boasts a variety of areas for the fishing enthusiast, and this section will guide you to some of the many places you can explore where excellent trout fishing can be had.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin
(Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake George and Lake Mamie), located above the Town of Mammoth Lakes, offers wonderful angling opportunities for Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout. All four lakes receive regular plants from the Department of Fish and Game. As a bonus, the Mammoth Lakes Basin also receives heavy summer plants of trophy-sized Alpers trout, some weighing in at the 10 lb to 12 lb range. These prize fish are delicious to eat and fun to catch. All lakes offer boat rentals, some offer canoes, pontoon boats, tackle shops and public showers.
For those anglers interested in catching a limit of pan-sized Rainbows or wild Brown trout, Mammoth Creek is full of them. Running east from the Old Mammoth meadow area to below Hwy 395, the small stream offers close to 10 miles of fabulous fishing. Mammoth Creek is regularly stocked by the DFG.
Convict Lake with its crystal clear water is full of beautiful Rainbow trout and Brown trout. Convict Lake is located approximately 7 miles south of Mammoth Lakes and is stocked with fish weekly during the season. Convict Lake offers boat rentals, campgrounds, public showers, a general store and one of the areas finest restaurants.
If you have never experienced an opening day on Crowley Lake, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Opening day at Crowley Lake is full of anglers battling the elements and the big trout. Crowley Lake is located just 12 miles south of Mammoth Lakes offering camping at South Landing, a general store and boat rentals. Crowley Lake is stocked by the DFG on their regular schedule. Crowley Lake features unique regulations, you can inquire at the Crowley Lake Fish Camp before you head out to catch the big one.
From Rock Creek Lake to Long Lake and the countless small tarns, all have an abundance of trout swimming in their pristine waters. Golden, Brook, Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat can be found in these alpine lakes. Rock Creek offers some of the most exciting creek fishing in the region, as trout up to 5 pounds or more have been pulled out of the creek’s rushing waters. The DFG stocks the creek once a week from opening day to closing. Rock Creek has a general store where you’ll find all your fishing tackle necessities, pole rentals, licenses and food.
Some of the best fly-fishing is along the San Joaquin River in the Reds Meadow area. At Hot Creek try your luck on catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks
Discover the June Lake Loop with its four glistening lakes (June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake) All the lakes are stocked with trophy-sized Alpers trout. There are five marinas, tackle shops, boat and float tube rentals. Rush Creek is the perfect spot to test your fly-fishing skills.
Join in the fun of one of the numerous fishing derbies, held throughout the season. Opening Weekend Fishmas Festival, “50” Days of Fishmas, Convict Lake Fishing Derbies, Children’s Fishing Festival, Crowley Lake Stillwater Classic, Free fishing days and more.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Excellent canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating opportunities abound at the numerous lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and surrounding areas. During the summer months, these waters feature both recreational paddlers out for a scenic afternoon and fishermen trying to hook a trophy-size trout. Rent a canoe, kayak or boat and venture out on your own.
Learn about the fascinating history of Mono Lake with a guided kayak tour. Paddle around Crowley Lake and enjoy the mountain scenery. A sunny summer or fall day on the water in the Mammoth Lakes area is a special experience for the whole family.
Both Crowley Lake and Grant Lake allow waterskiing and jet skiing, however, no rentals are available so please bring your own watercraft. Grant Lake is also great for windsurfing. High mountain lakes can be very cold, so a wetsuit is recommended to help insulate your body from the chilly water.
Sierra Engine/Bishop Motosports
Caldera Kayaks – 760-934-1691
Crowley Lake Fish Camp – 760-935-4301
Grant Lake Marina – 760-648-7964
Lake Mary Marina – 760-934-5353
Mammoth Kayaks – 866-686-9257
Mono Lake Foundation – 760-647-6595
Pokonobe Resort – 760-934-2437
Twin Lakes Store – 760-934-7295
Standup Paddle Boarding(SUP)
What’s not to love about stand up paddle boarding in the Eastern Sierra? Beautiful scenery, calm waters, many lakes to explore and… no sharks
In and around Mammoth Lakes, opportunities for high altitude SUP adventure are abundant. The Mammoth Lakes Basin and the June Lake Loop alone offer 7 seven paddle-accessible lakes.
Bring your suntan lotion, beach chair, picnic and board and get ready to kick-it at the beach, Eastern Sierra style. Don’t have a board? No problem – there are several places to rent a SUP, saving you the trouble of having to lug all that extra gear around.
Footloose Sports – 760-934-2400
Kittredge Sports – 760-934-7566
Lake Mary Marina and Store – 760-934-5353
Mammoth Kayaks – 866-686-9257
Mammoth Outdoor Sports – 760-934-3239
Wave Rave Snowboard Shop – 760-934-2471
Mammoth Lake’s two golf courses are located at the highest elevation in California. These sky-high courses will entice seasoned and novice players alike. Test the effects of elevation on your game.
Sierra Star Golf Course is one of the most challenging alpine courses anywhere. This 18-hole, par-71 course features tree-lined fairways, well-trapped greens, spectacular mountain views, and tranquil lakes and streams. For more information call Sierra Star Golf Course at 760-924-4653.
Snowcreek Golf Course is a par-35, nine-hole course and is designed to challenge all abilities. Mammoth Meadow surrounds the course, enhancing play with unobstructed views of the Sherwin Range, Mammoth Mountain and the White Mountains. For more information call Snowcreek Golf Course at 760-934-6633.